Reverend and dear Fathers,
The recent publication of the Doctrinal Declaration, addressed by the General Council of the Society of St Pius X to the Church authorities in Rome on April 15 last year, confirms our worst fears. We waited for nearly a year to know what it contains. It proves once and for all that the present leadership of the Society of St Pius X means to lead it away from the direction set for it by Archbishop Lefebvre, and towards the ideas and ideals of the Second Vatican Council.
However busy you may be with the daily ministry, this is bound to concern you because it means that the souls under your care are, through you, coming under Superiors meaning to lead them and yourselves towards, even into, the great apostasy of modern times. We recall that it is Superiors who mould their subjects and not the other way around – have we not observed a number of good Society priests, one after another, giving up the fight for the Faith as we know Archbishop Lefebvre led it, and instead going with the flow, with the strong and very different current flowing for some years now from the top of the Society downwards ?
Detailed analysis will confirm the danger of each of the Declaration’s ten paragraphs, as outlined only briefly below:--
I Fidelity promised to the “Catholic Church” and to the “Roman Pontiff” can easily be misdirected today towards the Conciliar Church as such, and to the Conciliar Pontiffs. Distinctions are needed to avoid confusion.
II Acceptance of teachings of the Magisterium in accordance with Lumen Gentium # 25 can easily be understood, especially in conjunction with Rome’s 1989 Profession of Faith which is mentioned in a footnote of the Declaration, as requiring acceptance of Vatican II doctrines.
III,1 Acceptance of Vatican II teaching on the College of Bishops as contained in Lumen Gentium, chapter III, is, despite the “Nota Praevia”, a significant step towards accepting Conciliar collegiality and the democratisation of the Church.
III,2 Recognition of the Magisterium as sole authentic interpreter of Revelation runs a grave risk of submitting Tradition to the Council, especially when the interpretation of any break between them is automatically to be rejected (cf. III,5 below).
III,3 The definition of Tradition as “the living transmission of Revelation” is highly ambiguous, and its ambiguity is only confirmed by the vague words about the Church, and by the quotation from the equally ambiguous Dei Verbum #8, which follow.
III,4 The proposition that Vatican II should “throw light” on Tradition by “deepening” it and “making it more explicit”, is thoroughly Hegelian (since when did contradictories explain and not exclude one another ?), and it risks falsifying Tradition by twisting it to fit the multiple falsehoods of the Council.
III,5 The statement that the novelties of Vatican II must be interpreted in the light of Tradition, but that no interpretation implying any break between the two is acceptable, is madness (All shirts are to be blue, but any non-blue shirt must be taken to be blue !). This madness is none other than that of Benedict XVI’s “Hermeneutic of continuity”.
III,6 Giving credit to the novelties of Vatican II as being legitimate matter of theological debate is gravely to underestimate their harmfulness. They are fit only to be condemned.
III,7 The judgment that the new sacramental Rites were legitimately promulgated is gravely misleading. The New Order of Mass especially is much too harmful to the common good of the Church to be a true law.
III,8 The “promise to respect” as Church law the New Code of Canon Law is to respect a number of supposed laws directly contrary to Church doctrine.
Reverend Fathers, whoever studies these ten paragraphs in the original text can only conclude that their author or authors have given up the Archbishop’s fight for Tradition, and have gone over in their minds to Vatican II. Do you wish yourself and your flock to be moulded by such Superiors ?
Nor let it be said that the first two and last three of the ten paragraphs are broadly taken from the Archbishop’s own Protocol of May 5, 1988, so that the Declaration is faithful to him. It is well known that on May 6 he repudiated that Protocol because he himself recognized that it made too many concessions for the Society to be able to continue defending Tradition.
Another error is to say that the danger is over because the Declaration has been “withdrawn” by the Superior General. The Declaration is the poisoned fruit of what has become a liberal mind-set at the top of the Society, and that mind-set has not been recognized, let alone retracted.
A third misconception is to say that since no agreement has been signed with the apostates of Rome, then there is no further problem. The problem is less the agreement than the desire of any agreement that will grant to the Society official recognition, and that desire is still very much there. Following the whole modern world and the Conciliar Church, the Society’s leadership seems to have lost its grip on the primacy of truth, especially Catholic Truth.
Reverend Fathers, “What cannot be cured must be endured.” Blind leaders are a punishment from God. However, the least that you can do about this disastrous Declaration is to study it for yourselves with everything that led up to it, otherwise you will lose your Society without realizing it, just as the mass of Catholics lost their Church with Vatican II, and did not realize it. Then having made the disaster clear in your own mind, you must tell the truth to your Society flock, namely the danger in which your Superiors are placing their faith and therewith their eternal salvation.
To all of us in that Society which Archbishop Lefebvre made into a worldwide fortress of the Faith, Our Lord is now putting the question of John, VI, 67: “Will you also leave me ?”
To any and all of you I gladly impart the episcopal blessing of your servant in Christ,
+Richard Williamson, Nova Friburgo, Maundy Thursday, 2013.